You might think that is a pretty stupid title. Everyone knows how to listen to radio, right? You turn on your radio and, well, listen.
Things get a little more muddled, however, when you try and listen online … especially if you are doing in from a mobile device. Pretty much every broadcaster has a mobile app these days, and the one thing they have in common is that they all suck. Hard.
Over to the right we see a typical mobile app from a typical broadcaster*. Looking at the interface we can see that it has a volume bar, and a “stop” button and … um … well, that’s it. No PVR controls, no playlist, no bookmarking, no auxiliary data … no nothing.
Did I mention the part where these things suck? Hard?
Worse, you have to grab individual sucky apps for each and every broadcaster, cluttering up one of your screens or folders with a big collection of suck. Ugly icons, too.
Fortunately, there is a better way. Grab yourself a copy of the “TuneIn Radio” app for your smartphone or tablet and listen to radio with all of the features that you would expect would be standard on any listening app. Take a peek at the screen and you see snooze and alarm functions, browsing and bookmarking, playlists, sharing, and a full set of PVR controls for pausing, skipping back, replay, skipping ahead … in other words, all of the basics that you would thing would be in any mobile radio app that wasn’t actually written by complete idiots. Better, it offers pretty much every on-air and internet-only radio station in a single app, and includes off-beat fun like closed-circuit college broadcasts, podcasts, community stations, and even police radio.
And how much does it cost? Why nothing, of course. It’s free (as in beer) and if you really want to go all out there is a 99 cent premium version that adds a “record” button to the controls.
So now the title makes sense. The bingo-callers and other assorted on-air fenderheads constantly pimp their “listen live” apps as if they are something other than complete shit. But now that you know how to listen to radio, you can avoid all of that, grab yourself a copy of TuneIn and … um, tune in. For real.
*NOTE: Some people might say I am being unfair using Rogers as my “typical broadcaster” since they are renowned – not just across Canada but around the world – for their rich legacy of technical ineptitude and shitty service. But the rest really aren’t any better, and Rogers more than deserves the abuse. So deal.